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EXPO 2016 delivers classes and discussions on topics of our time

12.01.16 – Timing is everything. NECA EXPO 2016, recently held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, followed two nationwide elections – presidential and A-CAM – affecting our industry, and our theme of Industry in Motion mirrored perfectly the changing times in telecom. A-CAM, USF reform and Washington administration changes all made for interesting classroom and panel discussions on what’s occurred and what may be to come.

Monday offered Washington updates, rural association happenings and cybersecurity 

Monday’s general session featured Washington insider and renowned political commentator Norm Ornstein, who went from A to Z on what changes in D.C. will have a long term effect on the industry. Norm covered various government topics on telecom matters and expects a change at the FCC leadership position, while also expressing his curiosity as to how our president-elect will manage national business interests. Norm’s engagement was followed by Jeff Dupree, NECA vice president of Government Relations, moderating a panel of rural telecom association executives: Derrick Owens of WTA, Mike Romano of NTCA and Bill Esbeck of the Wisconsin State Telecomm Association. The panelists touched on a variety of topics, including political happenings, the A-CAM vote results and state deployment of broadband. 

Iris Carrasquillo, NECA manager of tariffs and training, followed Jeff’s panel with a discussion of cybersecurity, a very topical subject that offered some advice from her panel of industry experts: Russell Berg of the Wisconsin Independent Network and Airstream Communications; Jim Luckett of Myth Innovations; John Howie of Huawei Consumer Business Group; Erin Fitzgerald of Bennet & Bennet, PLLC; and Dr. Jeffrey Kesler of Salus Telehealth, who demonstrated an example of telehealth by performing an online, remote medical examination. Iris’ panel discussion was preceded by a presentation from Henry Ha of the FBI field office in Las Vegas.

Classes and panels were designed to satisfy 

Tuesday through midday Thursday was packed with a selection of nearly 20 classes and panels (with additional one-time sessions conducted by vendors and consultants), most offered twice or more so attendees could get to satisfy their biggest interests. While equal time was offered to topics other than USF reform (e.g., USAC functions, services for the aging, social networking, employee engagement) here is a sampling of what was covered in some of the industry-focused classes:

USF Reform: Effects of the USF Reform Order, the A-CAM election, the Bureau Clarification Order and where the national average cost per loop is headed in 2017.

Inside the Beltway: Current legislation; significant FCC party-line voting; more competition, less regulation; and the Open Internet Order.

Switched and Special Access Transport Options: Customer preference of broadband over voice; competition; ramifications; tariff options; and NECA tariff and pooling anomalies.

Evolving Technology in Tariff No. 5: Past and future Tariff 5 offerings; new services for 2017; and discussion of G.Fast, 4G, 5G, The Internet of Things, Network Function Virtualization and Software Defined Network.

USF Reform Order Implementation; Effects on Cost Recovery and Support and Rates: Two separate classes offered instruction on the pending cost recovery process; CapEx, OpEx, CIA and CBOL; and pending changes in support and rates.

Strategies and Marketing for Cutting Edge Technology Transition: Marketplace drivers (IoT, Cloud); 1 Gbps fixed wireless solutions deployment; ILEC efficiency to reduce costs and increase revenue; business intelligence; and the needs of an on-demand economy.

And we’ll do it again next year

Save the date for NECA EXPO 2017, November 5-8 at the Grand Hyatt Riverwalk in San Antonio.